Synsepalum dulcificum is a plant of the Sapotaceae family native to West Africa. It is famous for its fruits, red berries that have the characteristic of making any food sweet.
Synsepalum dulcificum was first documented in 1725 by the French explorer Chevalier des Marchais on his journey to the African continent. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 6 m in height, but in cultivation it usually does not exceed 3 m. It grows on acid soils, in humid tropical environments.
The flowers are white.
Fruits twice a year, and its fruit is an oblong red berry, better known as the miraculous fruit (in English miracle fruit or miracle berry), as big as a grape (about 2-3 cm) with only one seed and that thanks to the fact that it contains miracoline, has the property of making sweet bitter, sour or otherwise acidic foods consumed up to 60 minutes after its intake.
The fruit of Synsepalum dulcificum makes the taste of bitter and sour foods sweet in the mouth, without having to use natural or artificial sweeteners. This is because the berry contains a glycoprotein, the miracoline, which attaches to the sweet receptors on the tongue. In neutral conditions, neither acidic nor alkaline, the miracoline suppresses the activation of taste buds (this explains why normally the fruits themselves are tasteless); but if the environment becomes acid, the miracle attracts ions “overloading” the receptors themselves, activating them and sending them signals of sweet taste. The effect lasts for an hour, maximum two (depending on what you eat).
Not being the protein metabolized by the action of insulin, it can be a valid alternative for diabetics.
Rustic plant, it grows luxuriant in tropical and sub-tropical climates, but can endure even at temperatures close to 0 ° C. Adequate fertilization helps the growth of the plant. Cultivation in areas with little rainfall is only possible if irrigation is carried out. It is advisable to grow it in a soil with acid pH.
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